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The start of a new sound for Katatonia - 96%

SpookyApparition, January 9th, 2004

This album marked the drastic change from the repetitive--yet emotional--guitar lines and similar-sounding--yet still effective--songs of Discouraged Ones and Tonight's Decision, to the much more dynamic sound Katatonia currently possesses.

As "Dispossession" explodes with a beautiful synthesizer line and a new ferocious drum sound, it is obvious that this album is a departure from previous Katatonia records. One difference is the production; Tonight's Decision featured a somewhat "muddy" sound, while Last Fair Deal Gone Down is 100% crystal clear. Anders Nystrom's guitar lines sound more mournful than ever, and the presence of new drummer Daniel Liljekvist is immediately felt with a perfect drum production. Jonas is in top form as usual, and when the 4th track on the album, "Teargas," rolls around, one gets the feeling that Katatonia have reached a new high. Teargas features a beautiful introduction, an incredibly catchy chorus, and perhaps Nystrom's most expressive lead guitar line ever.

Other highlight tracks include "Passing Bird" and "Sweet Nurse," both of which are unlike anything Katatonia has ever recorded. Passing Bird, for lack of a better term, almost sounds "hip," and has a classic Katatonia line: "Too much fucking emo, it's false I know." Sweet Nurse is the closest Katatonia has ever come to writing a happy song. The lyrics are definitely not cheery, but the song certainly isn't depressing. In addition, it is catchy as hell.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Last Fair Deal Gone Down features two of Katatonia's most depressing songs ever: "Tonight's Music," and "The Future Of Speech." Both deal with the beloved Katatonia topic of loneliness, but feature more dynamics and depth than their older material, no matter how great it was (and still is).

While not reaching the emotional highs (well, lows) of Discouraged Ones or Brave Murder Day, Last Fair Deal Gone Down is a MUCH more diverse and well-written album. The emotions are still there, they just aren't always as obvious and in your face.